Activities in the Parks

Can’t Choose Your Own Adventure? Start Here and Go!

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With hundreds of miles of trails threading through 37 distinct sites across 80,000 acres of the Golden Gate National Parks, it can be hard to decide where to go and what to do. Let the Parks Conservancy’s experts be your guide! We’ve carefully curated our favorite hikes, walks, and excursions to share with you and your loved ones. There’s something (and some place) for everyone! We reveal some of the natural wonders and historical highlights you’ll experience along the way, but there are plenty more surprises for you to discover. So browse below, then grab your boots and backpack. Your national parks are waiting.

Coastal Trail through the Presidio
Trail
Difficulty: Strenuous

Length

11.50 miles round-trip
The Coastal Trail is the true connoisseur's way to drink deeply from the quintessence of the California experience. As it threads through the three counties of the Golden Gate National Parks (Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo), the Coastal Trail treats adventurers to spectacular Pacific vistas, iconic chaparral hills, soaring...
Sweeping vista from the Coastal Trail above Muir Beach
Trail
Difficulty: Easiest
The Coastal Trail is the true connoisseur's way to drink deeply from the quintessence of the California experience. Get your sip along any segment, and enjoy some of the best landscapes and seascapes in the Golden State.
Battery Townsley "pond" in a former gun emplacement
Trail
Difficulty: Easiest

Length

1.90 miles round-trip
This mellow hike was a joy in spring: wildflowers everywhere, great views, no fog. We chose the hiker-only trails where we could, but bike routes cover similar ground. The views offshore on a clear day are amazing, and the highlight was seeing a pond full of California newts in a...
Visitors hike up the Coastal Trail from Rodeo Beach
Trail
Hill 88, towering 1,053 feet above Rodeo Beach , is reached via a 2.5-mile segment of the Coastal Trail. It starts flat but features a steep climb. Along the way, you'll pass Battery Townsley and ascend Wolf Ridge. A spur trail takes you to former gun emplacements and bunkers.
California newt
Parks
  • Hikes
This mellow hike was a joy in spring: wildflowers everywhere, great views, no fog. We chose the hiker-only trails where we could, but bike routes cover similar ground. The views offshore on a clear day are amazing, and the highlight was seeing a pond full of California newts in a...
View over Fort Cronkhite and Rodeo Beach
Trail
Difficulty: Easiest

Length

0.39 miles round-trip
Located in the Marin Headlands north of Rodeo Lagoon , Fort Cronkhite is a former World War II military post that stands at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Fort Cronkhite is one of the few examples of these World War II "mobilization posts" remaining in the country. The fort's...
Fawn strikes a pose in the brush
Trail
Difficulty: Easiest

Length

2.08 miles round-trip
While on the Fox Trail, breathing heavily as you reach the summit and its gorgeous views, you may notice a doe and her two fawns grazing in the grasslands.
Hawk Camp Trail
Trail
Difficulty: Very Strenuous

Length

6.80 miles round-trip
Starting at roads end in Tennessee Valley , the route starts towards the beach but soon picks up the Coastal Trail and ascends steeply up Wolf Ridge. Staying mostly on the high ridge back, it gives great sweeping views of the Golden Gate Recreation Area, Mt. Tamalpais , the Pacific...
Nike Missile Site
Hiking
  • Hikes
Starting at road's end in Tennessee Valley , the route starts towards the beach but soon picks up the Coastal Trail and ascends steeply up Wolf Ridge. Staying mostly on the high ridge back, it gives great sweeping views of the Golden Gate Recreation Area, Mt. Tamalpais , the Pacific,...
Hikers explore a newly built segment of the Hawk Hill Trail
Trail

Length

0.20 miles round-trip
Some of the most eye-popping vistas in the Bay Area—beloved by Golden Gate Raptor Observatory staff and volunteers who annually monitor the fall migration from Hawk Hill—are available to individuals with a wide range of abilities.
Coyote in Rodeo Valley
Hiking
  • Hikes
Take Golden Gate 70/80 from Civic Center in San Francisco to Marin City transfer station. A short walk through a residential neighborhood will lead you to the Pacheco Fire Road trail head. The trail begins under the cover of gorgeous eucalyptus trees, but quickly becomes exposed to the sun as...
Poppies overlooking Fort Cronkhite and Rodeo Beach
Hiking
  • Birding
Beautiful ocean views abound as you meander through picturesque Headlands scenery. This hike to Hill 88, the launch site for Cold War missiles, is a joy in spring: Wildflowers everywhere, great views, no fog. The views offshore on a clear day are amazing, and the highlight is seeing a pond...

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